If this situation applies to you these tips will help:

You can play chords,.  You can strum.  But doing both at the same time isn’t quite working!

Often I see students at this stage stop or slow their strumming, losing rhythm, when they make the chord change.

This is what I call an “awkward” stage of playing.

The way to overcome this is right and left hand independence.  In other words your right hand does one thing while your left hand does another.  Kind of like that old coordination trick where you try to pat your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time.

Here’s an exercise to help you practice independence of your hands.  I call it “Strum no matter what.”

1. Pick two chords that you are fairly good at switching.

2. Start playing the simplest strum of all – just downs strokes.  Play them in a consistent rhythm over just one chord.

3. After you have a good rhythm going get ready to switch chords.  Make the switch BUT DO NOT STOP STRUMMING!  Even if you miss a few notes or hit a few open strings along the way and muted or what I call plunky notes, KEEP GOING!

4. Repeat that idea going from back and forth chord to chord.  After a couple dozen switches  things should be getting a lot smoother, with less open strings and muted plunky notes.

5. When it sounds smooth do the same thing alternating down and up strums.  Remember keep a steady rhythm and DON’T STOP STRUMMING.

6. Then try working it up using the following strums, each gets more challenging as you go (V=Down ^=up space=eighth note space between strums):

a) VV^ VV^
b) VV^ ^V^
c) V^V^V^V

Have fun and remember, “Strum no matter what”!